Lobster Ravioli with tarragon cream sauce

lobster ravioliEvery family has its holiday menu traditions.  Our family celebrates the Réveillon, the night before Christmas with its special menu of Coquilles Saint-Jacques and soupe à l’oignon.  Come Christmas day we have a second family meal with a different menu of beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce, Bûche de Noel, and my signature lobster raviolis.  They are delicious, easy to make and can be served as a first course or a light meal with a tossed salad.  The tarragon cream sauce gives the dish that bit of acidity that complements the rich creamy lobster filling.  We did have them on the menu yesterday but you don’t need to limit yourself to Christmas to make them as they are a great addition to any menu year round.lobster ravioli ingredients

LOBSTER RAVIOLI  (makes about 62 raviolis)

  • meat from 2 1.5 pound lobsters ( about 14 to 16 oz of meat) chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 62 wonton wrappers

In a large bowl mix the lobster meat, scallions, tarragon, lemon rind and juice.  With a fork, work the cream cheese into the lobster mixture making sure it is all incorporated and that there are no large lumps of cream cheese by using your hands to lightly mix.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.lobster ravioli stuffing

On a large clean working surface lay the wonton wrappers 10 to 12 at a time.  Put about 1/2 tablespoon in the middle of each wonton.  Fill a small bowl with warm water.  Dip your finger or a small pastry brush in the water and wet the edge of the wonton, fold into a triangle, and press the wet edges together sealing the filling inside.  Repeat until you have used all the filling. As you make the raviolis, put them on a baking sheet that has been dusted with a bit of cornstarch to avoid the raviolis sticking to each other or the surface. As you will have more then can fit the baking sheet, cover the first layer loosely with a piece of wax or parchment paper also dusted with cornstarch.  When done loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until ready to cook.lobster ravioli

When ready to cook, bring water to boil in a large pot.  Gently put the raviolis in the boiling water, 8 to 10 at a time ( do not crowd the pot)  for about 1 to 2 minutes.  The raviolis come to the surface when cooked.  Remove with a slotted spoon and serve in individual shallow bowls or plates with a couple of tablespoons of sauce.


  • 10 to 12 peppercorns
  • 2 branches fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy creamcooking lobster ravioli

Put the peppercorn, tarragon, wine, broth and shallot in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let reduce for about 20 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discard the solids and save the liquid.  In another small saucepan melt the butter, add the flour, and cook for 1 minute letting the flour absorb the butter.  Whisk in the broth and cook for 5 minutes letting the mixture thicken slightly.  Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the heavy cream.lobster ravioli

NOTE:  The raviolis and the sauce can be made 1 to 2 days ahead.  Make sure that you don’t bring the sauce to a boil when reheating it as the cream can separate. Otherwise you can make the sauce and add the cream when ready to serve. As a first course I serve 4 to 5 raviolis per person.

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Moules Marinieres

bowl of musselsDuring the holiday season things can get pretty hectic – but I refuse to compromise on eating a nice meal because we are all in a hurry.  Here is a recipe that is a total reward: quick, delicious and in-season ingredients.  You can use it as a first course or as a meal accompanied by a nice tossed salad.  This is a dish from my childhood, my parents would make it in the fall and winter.  As children we loved it!  We were allowed to eat with our hands and have as much bread as we wanted! You will need that bread to soak up all the delicious left over broth in your bowl.mussels

Mussels are pretty much available year-round now but they tend to be plumper in the winter.  I recommend buying them the same day you will cook them, store them in the fridge in a bowl uncovered with NO water so they can breathe.  The ones you buy at the store are farm-raised so you only need to give them a quick rinse before using them.washing mussels


  • 4 to 5 pounds mussels
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • one large or 2 small tomatoes, peeled, quartered, seeded, and chopped
  • one leek, cleaned, cut in half length wise and sliced thin (white and light green part) or one large onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine or white vermouth
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley

In a very large stockpot (large enough so you will be able to move the mussels around as you stir) melt the butter.  Add the garlic and leek or onion and sautée until it starts getting soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and stir until they are soft and release a bit of their juice, another 2 minutes.  Add the cleaned mussels and stir until they have all been covered by the vegetables.  Add the wine or vermouth and cover the pot allowing the mussels to steam.  After 10 minutes check the pot and give the mussels a stir checking at the same time to make sure they have opened. Put the lid back on, turn off the heat and let sit another 3 minutes.  Before serving toss with the parsley.mussels

Transfer the mussels in a large bowl or individual bowls, discarding any unopened mussels. Serve with chunks of crusty bread.bread basket

NOTE:  I am partial to the mussels from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.  Should you decide to make the recipe you can also go to the following site and view my video tutorial on how to make the dish.

from my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du bouchermussel shells


oystersI will eat oysters over chocolate …and  I mean a good dark chocolate.  If I really want to “treat” myself, I’ll run to the store and buy a dozen oysters and we’ll have them as an appetizer with a nice glass of sparkling white wine.  It’s one of those foods that makes me happy – and fortunately my husband, Philippe, not only feels the same way, but is also the best at chucking! We are very partial to the oysters from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick:  Malpeque, Caraquet, Raspberry Point, Beausoleil, French Kiss…  So when we visit my family in Montreal we make a stop at our favorite poissonnerie, Odessa, fill up the cart with oysters, and off we go to my parents.oysters at the market

All you need to enjoy your oysters is a proper knife and your favorite sauce. When it comes to the knife you need one with a sturdy blade – a nice point to open the oyster but also flat to get around the shell to open it.  As for the sauce, some use tabasco, lemon, or cocktail sauce.  I am partial to Mignonette Sauce.oyster and sauce


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • cracked pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and serve with the oysters.

NOTE: only eat oysters in a month with “r” ! Where does that come from? Oysters spawn from May to August and tend not to be as plump and flavorful.  Plus there is the added factor of eating raw seafood in the heat of summer and the fear of getting food born illnesses.chucking oysters

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Lobster Stew with cheddar crostini

Two weekends ago,  my family and I all holed away together in New Brunswick for Canadian Thanksgiving.  We wanted to celebrate and mark this special occasion with a traditional feast, but I did not want to commit to staying home all day nursing a turkey and all its accompaniments and miss out on a beautiful hike.  Plus, we will have our turkey next month in the U.S. – not to mention that, lets face it,  by the time October rolls around I am a bit “turkey-ed out,” as I have been cooking (aka styling) thanksgiving spreads for different clients since July.

Lobster seemed to be the perfect solution, and quite fitting since we are on an island where the economy is based on  fishing and lobstering.  My only problem:  how to prepare it.  I wanted it to feel special yet uncomplicated.  I didn’t want to serve it grilled or steamed – something closer to “comfort food” seemed more fitting for October.  Lobster mac & cheese? Lobster pot pie seemed appealing, but I was worried of overcooking the lobster.  Then I thought: how about deconstructing the pot pie? More of a lobster stew with crostini?

Lobster Stew with Crostini

  • Meat from 4 medium lobsters steamed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 medium parsnips diced
  • 1 large yukon gold potato diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper

In a large stock pot melt 1 tablespoon butter with the oil.  Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes .  Add the diced vegetables and sautée on medium/high heat covered for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while and checking that the vegetables don’t brown.

Add 2 tablespoon butter. Once melted, add the flour and mix well until fully incorporated.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and parsley.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the milk and return to a simmer.  Add the lobster meat, give the stew a stir and turn off the heat.  All you want to do here is heat the lobster.

Serve in large shallow bowls with the crostini.

Cheddar Crostini

  • one baguette
  • about 1/2 pound mild cheddar

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal to get long slices. Grate or slice the cheddar. On a sheet pan, cover the baguette slices with the cheese and bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.

NOTE: When getting lobster on the island we steam it in a bit of fresh sea water – if not you can get most fish markets to steam it for you.  As for the crostini, I count 2 per person when serving the stew but make sure there are extras on the table, since we found them quite addictive!

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Clam Chowder and Clamming

We had the opportunity to spend last weekend “en famille”.  Those occasions are rare now with everybody’s busy schedules.  I treasure those days where time stands still. There are no outside distractions from phone calls, emails and such.  Our only concern  is where will be our next outing or hike.  We cook a lot, experiment with ingredients a lot, and, needless to say, eat a lot.  Leisurely meals, great conversations, and laughs are what those days are all about.

This weekend marked our last visit to the clam flats and we ended up coming home with more clams than we anticipated.  Clamming is so much fun until you get to the cleaning… which is not so much fun, but in the end very rewarding.  Clam chowder brings to mind summers in New England;  but there is something comforting about eating a big bowl of clam chowder with the fire roaring in the wood stove on a brisk October day. I serve it with a big dose of cracked pepper, a nice crusty bread, and … lots of butter.

Clam Chowder for a crowd    (this recipe serves about 10 to 12)

  • 3 thick slices of bacon diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth)
  • 3 cups chopped clams
  • 3 cups half and half cream
  • 1 cup bechamel sauce (optional)

In a large pot sautée the bacon in a teaspoon of oil until soft.  Add onion and sautée until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and stir to cover with oil and juices   rendered from the onion.  Add the broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are starting to get soft.  Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the half and half and let the chowder get hot without boiling.  The chowder can be made ahead of time, cooled down, refrigerated and slowly heated up later or the next day.

NOTE: our family likes a thick chowder.  That’s were the optional 1 cup bechamel comes in.  Melt 3 tablespoon butter in a sauce pan add 1/4 cup flour let it cook slowly for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup warm milk and whisk until it starts to thicken.  Add to the chowder after the half and half.  

From my kitchen to yours

CK, la fille du boucher